COVID-19: Bill allowing Parliament to meet with MPs in 2 or more places to be tabled

FILE PHOTO: Yahoo News Singapore

SINGAPORE — Minister Grace Fu, the Leader of the House, intends to introduce a new Bill next week to allow Parliament to meet with MPs spread out between two or more places amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The arrangement will be permitted “if it becomes impossible, unsafe or inexpedient for Parliament to meet at one place”, according to a joint statement by the offices of the Leader of the House and the Clerk of Parliament on Monday (27 April).

The MPs’ presence at any of the appointed places will count for attendance, quorum and voting purposes. The powers, immunities and privileges of Parliament will also be extended to apply under the arrangements.

Currently, Parliament is required by law to meet in one place. Parliament is scheduled to meet next Monday at 1.30pm.

The mechanism for the arrangements will be active for six months after the Bill is passed and comes into force. In future they can be activated by Parliament for six months at a time or be de-activated at any time by a parliamentary resolution. 

“The current COVID-19 situation is a good reminder that Parliament must be enabled to carry out its duties and pass laws that serve Singapore and Singaporeans even in exigencies,” the statement said.

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